SRV Kid's Focus in Hawaii
Over the Easter Weekend a Children’s puja for Jesus Christ was held with our one little student. Together we prepared the garland (lei), polished the vessels, and made cookies. These activities are fun and interesting for children and provide a perfect opportunity to practice concentration on the Deity in the midst of action. It also provides experience in making one’s actions an offering to God. One of the ways we maintained our focus was by chanting the name of Christ in Sanskrit in a traditional kirtan melody. Om namah Ishaya Chaitanya (Om, Salutations to Jesus the Christ).
A few of Jesus’ teachings were selected for study over the next few weeks (and for all of one’s life!)
Wisdom Teachings show us the difference between what is Eternal and what is always changing. They teach us about God, about the birthless, deathless Soul, and the oneness of God and our Soul. People suffer and are unhappy because their attention is on changing things instead of our oneness with God, who never changes. The Incarnations of God (like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Ramakrishna, and more) and other illumined beings want us to realize God within us so that we will be free from fear, full of peace and bliss, and able to see and serve God in everyone and everything.
❖ The Kingdom of God is within.
To know God, we must “tuck” our senses back into the mind, then train our mind to look inside very quietly and patiently. The Kingdom of God is not matter, energy, or thought. It is Existence, Awareness, and Bliss.
❖ Do not seek to gather treasures of the earth because they will decay, break, or be stolen, but gather up the treasures of heaven for they are eternal.
Our true Self is Infinite Spirit, therefore, it cannot be satisfied with finite things made of changing matter.
❖ Where your treasure is, there will be your heart.
If we make God our special treasure, then it will be easy to keep our mind on God.
❖ Seek first the Kingdom of God and all else will be added to you.
If we put God first, via spiritual practice each day, then our earthly life will remain in balance.
Illumined beings tell us that God is Love and that the highest Love is Love for God. This is not ordinary love, like “I love ice cream” or “I love the sunrise in the morning.” If you eat too much ice cream, you will not like it anymore. And if you watch the sunrise every morning for a long time, you might stop liking it and stop noticing it. Usually, when we say we love something, it means we want to use it to satisfy a desire for something that is temporary.
Love for God is extremely special. When we have this Love, then all our desires are fulfilled. God is enough and we are filled with peace and bliss. We see God inside and outside.
We must prepare ourselves for this kind of Love.
❖ Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
God is everywhere as the Divine Presence that everyone and everything exists in. But all the many forms we see usually distract us from seeing God. Instead, we just see the things of the world and forget God. So Jesus wants us to practice remembering God with one-pointed and loving concentration. The more one-pointed we are in our love for God, the more we feel filled with God.
❖ Love your neighbor as yourself.
Just like there are many waves on the ocean, and they are all made of water, all the people and creatures of the world are made of God. In God, we are all one. Jesus is telling us to learn to feel this divine oneness by treating others as carefully as we treat ourselves.
In India, many people accept Jesus as a Divine Incarnation of God. A Divine Incarnation, called Avatar Sanskrit, means that God has taken on a human body in order to teach people how to know and love God. They teach us through their pure lives as well as through their words. Christians think that God only came once as Jesus. Hindus think that God is born on earth whenever large numbers of people have fallen away from the path of Truth and Love and are suffering because they have forgotten God and their oneness with God.
Jesus taught “Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”
Puja/ Worship helps us practice purity of heart in three ways:
❖ Purity of place – We create a special place, a shrine, where images of God are lovingly placed, and make it beautiful with flowers. Only holy items are placed on the shrine.
❖ Purity of action – At the shrine, we offer flowers to God, and incense, and food. We offer sacred music and songs in praise of God. All the actions of our hands, senses, body, and mind are centered on God.
❖ Purity of thought – Everything we do at the shrine focuses our attention on God. This effort purifies our thoughts. Pure thoughts are thoughts that bring us close to God. When our thoughts are close to God our heart becomes more and more pure, which means it is not distracted by lots of other thoughts. This makes it possible to feel God’s Presence inside us, seeing and experiencing everything through our mind and senses.